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Specify framework / library version in the answer

+5
−0

As Stack Exchange (Stack Overflow mostly) is struggling to deal with outdated answers, they came with a proposal that we can learn from:

Version labels for answers

As already most of the feedback indicates, the proposed solution seems convoluted and thus hard to implement.

Software Codidact is now small, but as time flows, it will suffer from the same disease: answers are getting older and it would be hard for future readers to understand when a specific answer is correct (minimum and perhaps a maximum version for the framework the answer works for) and when it is not.

Reactions help to deal with outdated answers, but for major frameworks, some answers can be both correct (still work for those using an older version) and wrong at the same time (not working for those using a newer version).

I am wondering about adding a text field next to the answer that allows the answerer to specify the version the answer applies to. That would typically mean the minimum version, but the maximum version can also be specified. Examples for an answer to an Angular question:

>= 4.0.1 and <= 7.1

An even better way would be to clearly separate the minimum version from the maximum one. Both would be optional and free text (to be as simple as possible).

Any thoughts on this proposal? Do you think it would help?

[Edit]

This is a duplicate of this "global" meta post. Unfortunately, closing as duplicate indicating a post from another community is not allowed.

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2 comment threads

Duplicate (2 comments)
I agree that having some way to indicate the relevant versions can be useful in many cases, but I don... (1 comment)

2 answers

+2
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When I first saw this I thought this would be a use case for being able to apply tags to answers (which I've brought up before on Meta, IIRC). But version ranges are a little different, and I don't think you want to necessarily create tags for every version of something just so people can tag answers. (At least we have hierarchical tags, so you could, but it feels like it would often be clutter.)

Code Golf has a similar problem: answers to challenges need to specify the language, and they have a format they expect for answers to accomplish that, and new users have to learn it.

What do you think of the idea of answer labels? I'm thinking of a short textbox, with guidance text that would be configurable per community. Here that text might be something like "applicable version or version range"; on Code Golf it might be "language". Users could type anything; it's not tags. So there could be typos. The label text would be formatted in some way that stands out and would be either embedded in or attached to the answer in some way to be determined.

Would something like this address the issue?

Note: This is just me talking; I don't know what it would take to implement it and haven't asked the dev team about it yet. I'm asking about a potential solution so I know whether to pursue it.

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2 comment threads

Code Golf; cost/benefit (1 comment)
Labels for answers (1 comment)
+3
−1

We already have such a text field. In fact, we have several: The big one we type our answer into, and the small one we type our comments into. And this approach even allows to specifically express which part of an answer is version dependent, or to express disagreement about the designation.

The only case I could imagine it valuable would be if the software itself were to interpret this field, for instance to offer a version restricted search or answer display. However, given our small volume of questions and answers, I don't think we need this at this time.

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